What do I say to a grieving friend?


It can be very hard to know just what to say to someone who’s grieving. Some people are so unsure of what to say they avoid the funeral and their friend all together, leaving the person who is suffering from grief confused by the fact that their friend seems to have abandoned them.

However, a good friend will always reach out to those in need. The best thing you can to do is to allow the person to cry and show their real feelings. Talk about the person who has died and listen to the circumstances of the death.

The most loving thing you can do for your friend is just be there with them and for them. The simple act of being there is tremendous comfort to the grieving person. There are no magic words to heal the pain. Listening to someone talk about how much they miss their loved one or listening to a story about the deceased is often what is needed. Allowing that person to get out what they have been keeping inside is a special gift.

It’s best not to say things like “be brave” or “be strong” – this encourages grieving people to bottle up their feelings. And avoid saying things like “I know how you feel” – you can never really feel another’s inner feelings, or fully know all the things that are part of someone else’s grief. 

Offer practical help such as buying groceries or cooking meals. Do this not just in the days straight after the death but in the months to come when the real effect of the death is often being felt. 

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